Why is it still ok to call yourself retarded? To call your friends gay?

Are you, indeed, retarded? Are you “less advanced in mental, physical, or social development than is usual” for your age? Do you have a mental handicap that requires you to be treated with a different sort of care? That makes certain life tasks more difficult?

Are your friends being silly/dumb/foolish/loving actually gay? Are they attracted to the same gender as themselves? When you say they are being ‘gay together’ are they engaging in a form of same sex activity (safely, I hope)? Are they simply “lighthearted and carefree,” uninhibited, giddy and happy, maybe back in the ’50s?

Why are we still using meaningful terms like ‘retarded‘ and ‘gay‘ as derogatory ways to refer to ourselves, our friends, our actions, strangers we’re mad at?

Here are some alternatives:

  • I can’t believe that ass parked in two handicap spots (oh, sorry donkeys)
  • My cheesy friends are laying in bed on top of each other screeching over old Seventeen magazines (my apologies, Swiss and Cheddar!)
  • Ugh, another selfie! What a douche! (forgive us, watery cleansing method!)

Feel free to add your own.

No matter what we mean when we speak, and I’m reaching back into a linguistics course from my conflict management days, there are the speakers and the recipients, and between both, with words, we create something when we open our mouths and ears. We create meaning, we create being, and often, we create possibility, for better or worse.

I don’t think the donkeys or cheese care all that much.

 

 

DIY! Homemade tutu and dinosaur feet… for the kids who want to be everything

Yesterday was crafty craft Friday! Two projects I’ve been wanting to try: DIY dinosaur feet and a homemade tutu. Both are relatively cheap thrills and the dinosaur feet are especially super simple. I’d probably have the kids do that one more often if I had easy access to proper tissue boxes (see below).

So here we go… the imperfectionist’s crafternoon:

DIY Project #1: Homemade tutu!

Ok, so this was totally more for me than for Bebe; she never asked and I never really told her we were doing it. But she was a patient enough mannequin for a 2-year-old.

I took about a meter of tulle, elastic for the waistband, and a ribbon to jazz it up a little with a bow in the back. The ribbon was totally unnecessary and more annoying than it was worth. The waistband doesn’t necessarily look professional but this was a total ‘I’m gonna think about this till I actually just do it’ project so I wasn’t going for perfection.

Clearly a project for a mama or papa and not the 2-year-old, though older kids can totally get the job done with some supervision.

  1. Measured the elastic for the waist, and measured out the tulle for skirt length; basically went a little below the knee, doubled that, and added an inch more. Cut the tulle into about 3 inch strips, give or take for variety (and because, you know, imperfection).
  2. Sewed the elastic for the waist band.
  3. Extra, unnecessary step: I midway became inspired to pretty up the waistband by loosely sewing a purple ribbon so there would be a bow at the back. I’m sure there’s a better way to do this after finishing the tulle part. I’d do that next time.
  4. Fun fact: if you lose the ribbon method I did, it’s a no-sew affair.
  5. Setup: I put the waistband around one of those kiddie play strollers so I could work off it at eye level, sitting on the floor.
  6. Now, the knots. I folded each tulle strip in half, and the loop end went a bit above the elastic; I looped the rest through it and tightened. Then tied again with an extra knot.

It’s a bit tedious but it’s cute and Bebe had a fun time running around pretending to be a bird. Glad I could make that happen!

Here’s the original idea I used.

DIY Project #2: Dinosaur feet!

After two weeks of sick I finally acquired the essential ingredients for the dinosaur feet project: cardboard tissue boxes. It’s a rare commodity here in Israel – our tissues usually come in bags.

(See why it’s so hard to get your craft itch scratched here?)

This is super simple for the kids, and a fun (but probably short term) game when it’s done.

  1. Get two tissue boxes, paint color of your choice, paintbrush, surface mat.
  2. Have the kid paint the boxes.
  3. Leave out to dry.
  4. In the meantime, cut out the ‘toes’ or ‘claws’ depending on what your kid’s dino style is.
  5. When the boxes are dry, attach the claws. I ended up folding them in the back, taping each piece together where you wouldn’t see, and gluing as a unit to the boxes.

Totally effortless on my part, except for green paint bath cleanup. Koala stomped around until he discovered it’s a bit slippery which is way more fun.

Here’s the original idea I used.

Happy crafting!

And then I blew my kitchen’s mind: Chocolately chocolate cake with ICING!

Felt it was important to update the universe on the following big baking news from my kitchen; even if baking comes easy to you, when I bake I’m like a kid in a finger paint factory crossed with a panicked dog when its owner leaves the house (does that even make sense?).

Point is, I took it up a notch in my most recent venture and made ICING. Uh huh.

I wanted to surprise the huz since yesterday was his last exam for this round of insurance agent licensing courses of evil and I haven’t really seen him much in the last 5 months since they started. I was pretty sure he still likes cake so the kids and I went in that direction.

It’s a from-scratch chocolately chocolate cake recipe passed to me from a friend which is actually fairly easy and realistic (meaning you can easily have/acquire the ingredients): Hershey’s ‘Perfectly Chocolate’ Chocolate Cake recipe. I didn’t use any Hershey’s ingredients but I sincerely thank them for the inspiration.

Really wasn’t hard to do though prep time always takes me longer than it probably does normal people. My oven also cooks slower. Also I’m slower. Kid in a finger paint factory. So it all probably took, from start to finish, an hour and a half.

Notes:

  • Instead of the fancy double layered cake there, I did a small pan cake plus a dozen cupcakes. Plenty of cake to go around. I’m actually freezing the cupcakes.
  • It’s dairy but can easily not be though I imagine you end up lacking something.
  • It makes a generous amount of icing since I didn’t do the round double layered version.
  • I only did >2 cups of powdered sugar in the icing; it seemed ridiculous to do more than that. I also cut the 2 cups for the cake down to give or take 1.5.
  • It’s a very rich cake. Actually delicious. Since I usually make 15 minute mixes.
  • Have plenty of napkins ready for the cute (underage) chocolate faces.

Do it!

Something to tell you…

For months I wanted to tell them.

“Get into bed guys, and I’ll tell you a סוד.”

Especially Koala. I so enjoy sharing secrets with him… trivial whispers or major life developments.

They stood at the edge of Bebe’s bed; she was nearly collapsed from exhaustion.

“You know how some of our friends had babies recently?”

Bebe nodded her head as I spoke, her eyes half closed; she sat down and sprawled out. Koala hung on every word with his eyes.

I turned to Koala. “What do you think?”

But he was already thinking – and speaking – at a mile a minute.

“Maybe more of our friends will also have babies soon. When will it come? How big is it? But where is it now?”

He looked suspiciously at my soft, mushy, everyday belly.

“It’s in there. It’s tiny tiny. It’ll get bigger and you’ll start to notice. Eventually you might feel it move.”

“But how will it get out?”

I guided him to his bed and told him just how. Before I turned out the light, he looked me up and down and said, “Oh.”

The next night Koala asked again. We chatted about it more extensively.

“See? That’s why girls have vaginas… and it’s why we have the babies.”

He looked a little sad as he thought it over, and then Bebe, the girl who sometimes tells me her penis hurts, pointed to hers and lit up. “I have a vagina!!”

Ever since, both Koala and Bebe have been proudly announcing you to their friends, their teachers, and again and again, to me. They look at my belly; Koala goes so far as to measure it with his hands every week. They ask questions. So many questions.

“What does it eat?”

“How does it eat?”

“Does it move?”

“Is it this big?”

“Where does it pee?”

“…wait, isn’t that איכסה?”

And they’ve taken sides on the gender war… later on you’ll easily guess who wanted what. Bebe seems fine to concede if you turn out a boy. Koala is more insistent he is correct.

Sometimes he looks me right in the eye and says, “Ima, the baby is a boy.”

“How do you know?”

“I know it, Ima.”

Most of all, ever since I told them, they’ve showered you with kisses, hugs and whispers. Sometimes shouts. Probably a lot of shouts.

Particularly Koala, before leaving to gan.

“I love you baby!”

Do you hear us yet?

How to make homemade chai latte (‘winter’s coming’ edition)

So after yesterday’s mixed berry chocolate chip cookie goodness, today I decided we needed to kick off winter with a new hot drink. (The sky agreed because it’s dark and grey and I’m pretty sure we heard thunder.)

In the past we did a ghetto chai latte with a chai tea bag and some warm milk. But I’ve grown up since then.

Presenting… my first totally homemade chai latte!

If you want a more detailed shpiel, check this: How to make chai latte, step by step

The whole thing took about ten minutes. My quick recipe, with a couple modifications:

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tea bags (I used black tea)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 clove
  • 1/4-1/8 tsp ginger
  • 1/4-1/8 tsp cardamon (I didn’t have this but it was still tasty)
  • 1/4 cup sugar (note: I did this as per the original recipe, but it ended up too sweet for me… next time I’d do half the sugar)
  • 2.5 cups milk

In a small pot, I added the water and spices and boiled for five minutes. I actually included the sugar in that step but the original recipe says to add it after (oops). Then the milk, and then it all happens fast so stay on top of it.

We used a French press to clean the tea so that the extra bits of spice stay out of the end drink.

It made four tea cups worth, which was enough for the whole fam. Kid-friendly process and they loved drinking it, too.

Ok, winter, we’re ready.